Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Red Cliffs Of Dawlish
Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Power: The Castle of Illusions

Preferably this would have been a mock-up of M.C. Escher's abstract geometry-breaking style, but the above will suffice for lack of skill in this endeavour.

This blog is overdue another description of a policy (Environment + Brexit) via focused and detailed description of a subject of substance!! Going in the opposite direction, hence at the risk of adding to the cacophony... but noticing the current headline topics in politics at the moment and noticing a high quality blog post by Pete North:-

"If I have learned one thing from my dabbling in politics it is that knowledge is not prized. Conformity is. The rules of political progression are thus:

Firstly one must declare publicly an allegiance to an orthodoxy. One must praise it and denounce followers of opposing ideals. One must never deviate because the narrative is a closely guarded continuum. Each tribe has a leader but in each tribe there are cells. There are acolytes who are permitted a certain degree of status so long as they never challenge or contradict the high priest of the tribal orthodoxy. Dissent is punished, conformity is rewarded. 
This is so engrained in our political culture that debate has now become a form of entertainment rather than a means to an end [editor's note: Distraction Activity could substitute here also]. This explains London political culture.
Not for nothing do we call them the chattering classes. It is reflected in London based political publications where we see in full flow the dynamic of prestige and conformity over substance. What we see is the popularised mantras of the leading tribes which attract the most prestige.

We often speak of "the establishment" but there have been very few credible attempts to define what that actually means. To the left, the establishment is the banks, bosses and the "neoliberals", but this is a wholly teenage interpretation of the establishment.

The establishment is difficult to define specifically because it is an amorphous mass of competing influences. It is neither right wing nor left wing. It is simply that which cannot be removed by way of voting.

The purpose of an election is notionally to refresh the powers that be. In reality all we are doing is sending more fresh meat into the grinder into an ancient system whereby the system takes malleable and naive politicians and uses them to gain influence, be it the media, privately funded think tanks or direct political donations.

In modern times the media and think tanks are interchangeable. The media does very little thinking of its own and so there is a nexus between the media and the thinks tanks whereby old money ensures that the orthodox narratives are never challenged. Through either bribery, bullying, ridicule or sabotage, there are no limits to the lengths they will go to to suppress ideas that they themselves do not endorse or did not originate."

I highly recommend reading the full blog (certainly up to the paragraph on Fascism and for further on that subject re-read my previous blog: Politics & Power: The Power of "Will Power"). One thing I feel confident in stating: Much of the discussion of politics has poor foundations. Often the data group "tags" used to assort large groups of people into such as "left, right, libertarianism or any of the other more established labels", are extremely limited and self-limiting by the current system of politics: Reds vs Blues, as the traditional football match goes. One tribe of supporters ritualistically against another and fair enough some of the quality of football is brilliant entertainment in my opinion - but it's football of course.

Coming back to the news, today there's some highlights of "Trump vs Clinton": Go watch it and it's much easier to see the suggested above, the wider schism between rhetoric and reason; between illusion and reality. In our present debate about Brexit, it's perhaps less obvious, but as usual Dr. RAE North provides enormously helpful assistance:-

Brexit: confusion reigns20/10/2016
Brexit: mutual recognition of standards19/10/2016
Brexit: off the edge of a cliff18/10/2016
see previous blogs......
see previous blogs......
see previous blogs......
see previous blogs......

There is "a kind of order within the above apparent chaotic pattern" in all the above, which go into great detail and depth, the latest concerning the predictable conflation between Customs Union (of the EU), The Single Market (including EEA) and variations on "Free Trade, Sovereignty and Supranationalism, " presumably when "the shit hits the fan" (illusion hits reality), and the parameters of Brexit as understood within the limits of Article 50. To provide an example, just read the beginning summary of news-media coverage of the politicians "positions" concerning the "progress" of Brexit in the above "Brexit: Confusion reigns":-
David Jones, Minister of State for Brexit, has told a House of Lords committee the UK's negotiating position may not be "totally crystallised" by next spring. The government was "at an early stage of the process", he said, and thinking was "developing".

But then, if this recent report in the Guardian (and a parallel report in the Mail) is any guide, this should not come as a surprise. The debate seems to be going backwards, sowing confusion in place of clarity, adding needless complications to an already complex issue.

For a start, these two newspapers don't seem to know whether they are coming or going. Both apparently report on work submitted to the Cabinet by the Treasury, the think-tank NIESR, and the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, but both seem to have a different idea of what it involves.

The Mail, on the one hand, has the work focusing on "a Norway-style model where the UK exits the single market but stays inside the customs union", whereas the Guardian has it that we remain "inside the single market but outside the customs union".

The Guardian then confuses the issue still further by suggesting that a customs union sets common external tariffs – which is fair enough – but then, bizarrely, asserts it "does not require customs checks".

If you read Pete North's blog, I think he lays out a useful basis as to why, that is actually very useful before then using the language of established conventions in our politics and hence the confusion that usually engenders. And if you accept some of the suppositions, it might then make more sense why for example Westminster politics deals and trades in so much that defies reason, that breaks the rules of reason - and yet ends up holding a most perverse logic of it's own! What is that? I think one way to perhaps describe it, and not exclusively, is to compare it to what M.C Escher does with his depictions of "rule-breaking geometry": There is order in understanding which rules are being broken and only displaying the consequence of those broken rules: Of course such an 'echo or reversal' thus holds onto it's inherited "reason" but in a most convoluted and captivating and strange and bizarre outcome: Much like watching politics in Westminster: The centralization of power at work, even? Why if we begin to assume we glimpse some of "how"?

 M.C. Escher: "Waterfall" - Our modern politics: But does such a picture serve a purposeful function for present people? "Almost certainly".

This is perhaps a fantastical way of suggesting: Perhaps people need to start learning more about possible rules of power itself, if we want to progress our politics and it's productive work as opposed to it's "distraction activity" usage which consumes the former; the greater the disconnect between those in power and those not, that also seems to be some sort of rule operating? That's an enigma. But for the moment, it seems to me to be more pleasing to view these illustrations than it is to listen to the illusions of politicians (passport colours a lazy eg, a more appropriate one: Scotland in the Single Market, rUK out – what would it take? - a strong exercise in catering to current illusions from a "think tank" etc).